con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Definition of consume

transitive verb

1 : to do away with completely : destroy Fire consumed several buildings.
2a : to spend wastefully : squander consumed his inheritance on luxuries
b : use up Writing consumed much of his time.
3a : to eat or drink especially in great quantity consumed several bags of pretzels
b : to enjoy avidly : devour … mysteries, which she consumes for fun …— Eden Ross Lipson
4 : to engage fully : engross consumed with curiosity
5 : to utilize as a customer consume goods and services

intransitive verb

1 : to waste or burn away : perish
2 : to utilize economic goods

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Synonyms for consume


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Examples of consume in a Sentence

The new lights consume less electricity. She's making an effort to live more simply and consume less. Hundreds of books were consumed in the fire.
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Recent Examples on the Web Generally, the advertiser works with copy editors and others to come up with a story about the happiness that’s meant to come with consuming a particular product. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "Anthony Barboza’s Galaxy of Black Stars," 11 Feb. 2020 For example, many heard racist tropes about Africans’ presumed penchant for kissing corpses and their habit of consuming exotic beasts. Kevin J.a. Thomas, The Conversation, "Fighting coronavirus fear with empathy: Lessons learned from how Africans got blamed for Ebola," 6 Feb. 2020 In other words, a user would feel clear-headed the day after consuming the product. Seth King, Quartz, "Could a little-known cannabinoid upend the natural sleep-aid market?," 6 Feb. 2020 Lesson learned, after consuming my first-ever savory crepe, during a recent lunch at Pofta Buna International Café in Huntsville. Matt Wake |, al, "This locally-made savory crepe’s more than a fancy wrap," 5 Feb. 2020 Supermassive black holes have a reputation for consuming everything in their path, from gas clouds to entire solar systems. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could a habitable planet orbit a black hole?," 4 Feb. 2020 After celebrating with a bottle of champagne at Katahdin's summit, Jurek received citations for consuming alcohol, hiking with a large group and littering. NBC News, "Hikers behaving badly: Appalachian Trail partying raises ire," 31 Jan. 2020 This isn't true, of course, since the electricity comes from consuming gasoline. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Norway Calls Lexus's Self-Charging-Hybrid Ads Misleading," 27 Jan. 2020 That's some scary news that has certainly discouraged many people from consuming this algae. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "Is Sea Moss Healthy? Here's How to Eat It for Maximum Benefits," 17 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consume

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for consume

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French consumer, from Latin consumere, from com- + sumere to take up, take, from sub- up + emere to take — more at sub-, redeem

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Time Traveler for consume

Time Traveler

The first known use of consume was in the 14th century

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Statistics for consume

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce consume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of consume

: to eat or drink (something)
: to use (fuel, time, resources, etc.)
: to destroy (something) with fire


con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Kids Definition of consume

1 : to destroy by or as if by fire
2 : to eat or drink up
3 : to use up consume electricity Our entire day was consumed searching for his glasses.
4 : to take up the interest or attention of Curiosity consumed the crowd.

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More from Merriam-Webster on consume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for consume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consume

Spanish Central: Translation of consume

Nglish: Translation of consume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consume for Arabic Speakers

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